Guitar Amp Myths Dispelled

Even the most experienced guitar players will hold to facts that are completely incorrect or even as far as to be called fantasy many times. Many of them have created a good tone after years of experimenting with different guitar amps. This can run up a cost really fast. Even after they got the tone they wanted, they had no idea how they got to that point. There are common myths about the guitar amplifier that are discussed and dispelled here.

Myth: “A hundred watt amp is twice as loud as a fifty watt amp.”

Fact: With everything else being the same, the hundred watt amp will be louder than a fifty, but it takes an increase of ten times to double the volume. So in order to be twice as loud as a fifty watt amp you would need to get a five hundred watt amp. In fact a fifty watt amp will not be much louder than a fifteen watt amp from the same cabinet.

Myth: “I need a hundred watt amp because my band is playing in clubs.”

Fact: No venue needs a lager amp and cabinet than the one that works as a stage monitor. That is of course if the band does not try to actively outplay each other. A high end thirty watt amp will be enough to play in a club setting. It depends on what your band is comprised of, but you may only need a smaller rig that is rigged into the PA. For smaller venues, a fifteen to thirty watt amp can be put behind the band in the normal position. This set up won’t need a microphone to be effective. This serves as a monitor for the guitar player and the primary amplifier for the guitar. For larger venues, play the same rig through the PA as above.

Myth: “I need a small combo because I live in an apartment.”

Fact: A small combo will take up less room that much is true. The same from the first myth is true here. A reduction of the volume by half will take a ten fold decrease in the wattage of the amplifier. In that way, a five watt amp is going to sound half as loud as a fifty watt amp. Even an amp this small can get fairly loud if turned up all the way with distortion added.

Myth: “Solid state amps suck.”

Fact: Solid state amps have come a long way but are not quite to the point where they are not as good as tube amps. Many of them are pretty effective at modeling preamp distortion but they cannot do the power amp as well due to its complex interaction with power tube, output transformer and speaker. Despite this, most people in the audience at a normal live gig, won’t know if you are using a solid state or tube amp. Even if they do notice, they will not likely care one way or the other.